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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  January 3, 2020 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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>> we make it to tahoe, we can have the baby yoda. >> now we know how to make at that. >> as a reminder, lester holt is next with nightly news. >> we'll see you at 6:00. tonight. the shockwaves from the u.s. strike in iraq that killed iran's top commander. president trump accusing iran of planning imminent attacks on american diplomats and service members. >> we took action last night to stop a war. we did not take action to start a war. >> tonight thousands more u.s. troops being deployed to the middle east iran vowing revenge, angry protesters burning american flags. american citizens warned to get out of iraq now security at home and the top officials i interviewed inside iran their warnings to the u.s. our team inside iraq and iran tonight. just in, the hostage standoff at a bank an armed suspect
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barricaded inside. police and s.w.a.t. teams swarming the scene. the deadly wildfire disaster spreading in australia. hundreds trapped on a beach rescued. we are in the fire zone. the deadly rampage, a man stabbing apparently at random the suspect climbing to a roof and the shocking thing that happened next. inside the daring escape the former auto company chief fleeing charges. tonight the bombshell. new report on how he was smuggled to freedom. and the massive line of rain stretching 1,500 miles from the garbage truulf coast o new england. al roker with the latest track. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt good evening nearly 3,000 additional american troops have been ordered to the middle east tonight amid a dangerous escalation in the u.s. showdown with iran. iran threatening harsh retaliation for the killing of its top general by american forces the u stoked violence
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against overseas he was killed in an aerial apbush at baghdad's airport. this eveningthe stat department telling americans to leave iraq for their own safety richard engel is there and has the latest >> reporter: the aftermath shows an attack that was deliberate and sustained with around a half dozen explosions, the americans firing with drones, clearly didn't want to miss their target iran's general, qasem soleimani. he was leaving baghdad airport when he was killed in a convoy of vehicles president trump tonight. >> soleimani was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on american diplomats and military personnel, but we caught him in the act and terminated him. >> reporter: the imminent attacks planned by soleimaniand facili house americans in
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iraq, syria, lebanon, and the region of the middle e state department official told reporters today qasem soleimani was no ordinary general the u.s. officially classified him as a terrorist, but in iran he was a national hero specifically, soleimani was in charge of spreading iranian influence around the world and he was eekstremely good at it ruthless, strategic and bold he knit together a loyal network of armed groups from iraq to syria, lebanon to afghanistan. any time iran attacked oil tankers in the persian gulf and denied it or attacked oil facilities in saudi arabia and denied that, too u.s. officials saw soleimani's handiwork. his power made iranians proud today iranians in the thousands came out to show their love and their anger. soleimani was arguably iran's most popular leader for years soleimani operated in the
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shadows and he spilled a lot of american blood. he was the secret architect of a long campaign against u.s. troops in iraq after the 2003 invasion, killing hundreds back then his face was barely known but over the last few years soleimani had gotten bolder showing photographs of himself on battlefields around the middle east, issuing statements his pride and increasing profile may have made him easier to track down and kill there was talk in iran soleimani might be a future president or perhaps even a supreme leader today the man who has that role, iran's top ayatollah, visited soleimani's family and promised severe revenge. the most immediate concern is in baghdad where shiite militia leaders loyal to soleimani, the same militias that for days attacked the u.s. embassy, will take to the streets tomorrow to mourn and show their rage. >> richard joins us now from iraq where our team is hearing
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late word of another airstrike. richard, what do we know >> reporter: an iraqi security official told us another convoy has been targeted by an american airstrike this convoy carrying leaders from the iraqi she a militias, the same militias who are going to protest tomorrow in baghdad not far from the u.s. embassy. so this could escalate, it could lead to a cycle of violence it just got more dangerous tonight. >> richard engel with that breaking news from iraq. thank you. and in his remarks president trump declared that soleimani's reign of terror is o-fer and sa hallie jackson with more on the president's response and reaction from congress. >> reporter: president trump tonight defending his order to target qasem soleimani. >> soleimani made the deaths of innocent people, his sick passion. we took action last night to stop a war.
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we did not take action to start a war. >> reporter: and while the president says the u.s. does not want regime change, he is ready to retaliate if iran seeks revenge. >> if americans anywhere are threatened, we have all of those targets already fully identified and i am ready and prepared to take whatever action is necessary. >> reporter: now new fallout at home. >> this is the equivalent of the iranians assassinating the u.s. secretary of defense. >> reporter: democrats demanding details about the strike, slammed by some as reckless, with concerns the president's overstepping his authority despite the administration citing an imminent threat to americans in the region. >> is that a justification enough in your view for the strike to have been carried out? >> hallie, i want to see what is the intelligence behind that. >> reporter: house speaker nancy pelosi pointing out the president did not notify key
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congressional leaders in advance. >> i was believed abo briefed /* briefed about the potential operation in florida. >> reporter: the president's party largely united in praising the strike, arguing the world is less dangerous now after the death of the leader of an organization branded terrorists by the administration. >> this terrorist leadership has been ended. >> the president took a decisive action, right action, and candidly, it's one that will save american lives >> reporter: and late tonight here in south florida the president said he believes that soleimani had been planning what he described as a very major attack i'm told by sources close to the president he is confident in his decision to carry ou this strike and in his authority to do so lester. >> hallie jackson, thank you. and as iran vows revenge for soleimani's killing, americans are on heightened alert overseas and here at home the attack and threat having a far-reaching ripple effect. let's get more from andrea mitchell.
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>> reporter: protests in pakistan as crowds angry over soleimani's killing burn mock u.s. coffins. celebrations in syria as president assad's critics express joy over their enemy's death. an exodus of american oil workers in northern iraq, obeying an emergency order from the state department to get out now. and extreme caution in israel which deployed tanks to the golan heights bordering syria while u.n. peacekeepers beefed up patrols between israel and lebanon. 3,500 more u.s. troops being ordered from the region from ft. bragg. the rest of the global response force continuing the build-up in kuwait and potentially baghdad. u.s. embassies on high alert. starting in baghdad following the siege that helped trigger the targeted killing of the iranian commander. here at home in new york police are on heightened vigilance in what they call sensitive areas and critical structures. >> we are now
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potentially facing a threat that's different and greater than anything we have faced previously. >> reporter: there is increased protection in washington at key foreign posts like israel's embassy with iran vowing revenge. >> the next step up on their part will be to go directly after u.s. forces they have a huge capacity to absorb punishment there were a million dead during the iran/iraq eight-year war. >> reporter: that drove up crude oil prices by 3% with a bigger spike expected if and when iran retaliation. iran's ambassador saying retaliation is a certainty. >> i am not in a position to tell you what sort of action we follow, about you what i can tell you is that there will be, you know, retaliation against. >> reporter: the ambassador says that the trump administration sent a letter to iran last night and iran has responded but neither side will provide
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details about those letters. the administration says the assassination was legal because it was defensive. if so, was it the right strategy critics say former presidents george w. bush and barack obama both had opportunities to kill soleimani but did not. fearing it would lead to war with iran. >> thank you and tensions with iran have weathered several dangerous flare-ups since last spring, including provocations near the strait of hormuz i visited tehran in august amid the tensions and got some insight into how iran might approach conflict with the u.s. in tehran today the american flag burned in the streets angry reaction to the american assassination of iran's top military commander. iran's national security council tonight issuing new threats, saying, a very grave revenge is awaiting the criminals who bloodied their hands with the blood of soleimani months ago we traveled
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inside iran, speaking to people on the street and in their homes, and to government officials, including the head of iran's national security council, a visit during another moment of inflamed tensions following suspected iranian attacks on oil tankers and iran's shootdown of an american military drone back then he shared with me this warning >> translator: in the case of war, the u.s. will be in a very terrible situation. >> reporter: will iran use asymmetric warfare? >> translator: iran has multiple instruments at hand, including the proxy war. >> reporter: a reference to iranian backed groups from militias across the region to terror organizations like hamas and hezbollah, potentially raising the stakes for american military planners. >> military to military, how would you expect the iranians would fare against the u.s. >> they would fare badly. they cannot match us in conventional
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forces, but they are masters of asymmetric warfare. the iranians may turn around and attempt the same kind of activity against the u.s. ambassador and then they would say this was a proportional operation. >> reporter: tonight no public indication inside iran of what they'll do next. nbc's aliarouzi is there. >> reporter: state tv is commemorating him on a loop and one jeanine went aft jeanine wept. >> reporter: meantime, last night's brazen u.s. airstrike may represent a miscalculation on iran's part. in series of interviews during our time on the ground this summer top officials questioned the trump administration's stomach for conflict >> translator: i think a brief glimpse into the history of america's past behavior shows they can not simply make such mistakes. >> reporter: a country that just weeks ago was embroiled in bloody unrest. a deadly government
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crackdown to end protests over soaring gas prices tonight it's refolking its rage on americans. another possible response by iran could be a cyberattack against the u.s. >> a lot of other news breaking right now, including a hostage standoff at a bank in illinois ron mott is in chicago. ron, away do we know >> reporter: lester, this started around 2:30 this afternoon local time officials got a call from the heritage korean in rockford, illinois, about a man armed with a gun who demanded people leave the business but not everyone was able to get out. it's unclear on the number of hostages at least one person is confirmed inside authorities warned there may be multiple others crisis negotiators are on scene, local police, s.w.a.t., fbi. no reports of gunfire or any injuries. there are numerous road closures around this bank as officials try tonight to bring this incident to peaceful ending. no word on the identity of the suspect. >> frightening situation there.
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thank you. those devastating wildfires in australia are only getting worse tonight and at least 19 people are now reported dead. janis mackey frayer is in the fire zone >> reporter: tonight inside the massive fire zone, fears are growing. officials warning flames are fast moving and conditions are getting worse. >> i came through. >> reporter: we made it to this nature reserve, now charred, smoldering, and at risk of igniting again:are you nervous? >> at the moment it's a case of everyone's nervous. getting prepared. >> reporter: days ago that same wind and heat causing chaos, and catching many by surprise this family was out on their boat and within minutes were surrounded by fire >> around the corner, most of the valley was on fire, which is houses gone. people were jumping into the water to save their own lives. there was no going back out. >> reporter: they
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retreated to the beach, waiting days to escape by road their seaside town devastated australia's navy today rescuing hundreds of people stuck at the shore. the wind is picking up just a little bit and really feeding those flames thermal photography of the fires ominous picture of the threat. still there are people who defied warnings to leave but have few supplies and no guarantee of help. even people outside the fire zone are feeling the impacts. the entire coast is choked with this thick smoke making it difficult to breathe, and the temperature is set to hit 107 degrees today. lester. >> so badly need a break. janis, thank you. back home a deadly stabbing attack in austin, texas. police say s restaurant coffee shop, then fledy inside, he allegedly stabbed two people, apparently at random, killing one of them. the suspect then climbed to a roof and jumped and was hospitalized with injuries. just ahead as we continue tonight, the
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dramatic escape. how a former top auto executive charged with financial wrongdoing got away with the help of a big box and a private jet. also, rain and snow affecting weekend plans for millions al roker has that. and why the group leading one firehouse is so unique you'll meet them in tonight's those who serve.
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all right. next up for us tonight, inside that daring escape by a former top auto executive faces charges in japan new details on what he may have hidden inside to sneak out of that country aboard a private plane. here's tom costello. >> reporter: it has all the suspense of a hollywood thriller former renowned nissan ceo carlos ghosn holed up in bare route, saying in a statement i have not fled justice i have escaped injustice and political persecution. ghosn had been under house arrest in tokyo for months after being charged in 2018 with financial crimes. >> the former boss is
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accused of financial misconduct. >> reporter: for days, international media have speculated about how he escaped tonight "the wall street journal" citing sources familiar with a turkish investigation report two american security contractors hid ghosn in a large black box, then loaded it into a private plane. >> there is a large black instrument box, musical instrument box, jammed into the back aisle of the airplane, and the box had holes drilled in the bottom for somebody, presumably mr. ghosn, to brief. >> reporter: mmg says it hasednghe illegal ussee ice in relation to carlos ghosn's escape from japan, saying an employee acted alone and falsified records. this flightaware track shows the jet leaving osaka, japan, after 11:00 p.m. sunday, flying through russian airspace and on to turkey a second plane then flew to lebanon, which has no extradition treaty with japan. ghosn insists, i alone
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arranged for my departure. my family had no role whatsoever, promising to tell his story to reporters next week. tom costello, nbc news, washington >> it's an amazing tale. up next, big weekend storm. al roker is here
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tracking a 1,500-mile line of rain from the gulf coast to new england. al roker is with us. >> ligright now heavy rain making it's way to the gulf coast and heavier activity into the atlantic area with snow behind it for tonight strong storms for the gulf coast. that rain moves into the mid-atlantic overnight. tomorrow periods of rain in the northeast with accumulating snow through new england as this double-barrel low pushes through by sunday it's awful the coast. the heavier accumulations in the southeast with snow stretching from western new york all the way into new england. airport delays tomorrow from cleveland down to raleigh and up into boston the good news, it's out of here quick. >> al roker, thank
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you. and next, how these firefighters are breaking new ground and those who serve. ind those . e n those who serve. "those who ser"
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to a remarkable firehouse in georgia here is blayne alexander with "those who serve. >> reporter: at firehouse 1 in decatur, georgia, you may notice something different. >> the fire alarm. >> reporter: in a field dominated byvera morriso annetta violante lead the only fire department in the country where the top three positions are held by women. >> i often get questions about, you know, three women working together. >> reporter: for years they worked separately, each the only women in their
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representative firehouse. on the line, night after night. a tall order when even your clothes are working against you. >> i often was in hand me down clothes orgoer that was like for a 5'10" male. >> right. >> >> reporter: so you were doing all this in gear made for men? >> yes >> that gear adds about 45 to 55 pounds to your body weight. >> reporter: even heavier, the weight of being first. >> we represent every female firefighter that's out there. >> reporter: and it's not your typical fair station. fully equipped with a relaxation pod, yoga classes and a sense of camaraderie they say sets it apart. the community is taking notice. just take a recent career day visit. >> she said can females be firefighters the one little girl raised her hand and said, no, but they can be chiefs. >> i think more important is for them to just see that anything is possible, and as long as i'm here we will continue to shatter the glass
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ceiling. >> reporter: paefg the way for generations to come blayne alexander, nbc news, decatur, georgia. >> heroes every one of them. that's "nightly news." i' right now, at 6:00, a startling prediction for our housing market. one local broker says a 50% drop is coming this decade. plus, fallout continues from the u.s. air strike in iraq. we have new reaction just in from bay area lawmakers. first, a dramatic day in court for the men accused of stealing a laptop at an east bay starbucks. the sister of one of the suspects says her brother is innocent. the news at 6:00, starts right now. good evening, thanks for being with us on this friday. i'm raj mathai. >> i'm jessica aaguirre. the two men accused are
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convicted robbers. in a dramatic courtroom outburst, the sister of one of the men told prosecutors and police that they had the wrong guy. nbc bay area's melissa colorado joins us from the oakland neighborhood, where the deadly robbery took place. >> reporter: jess, there was an emotional outburst in that courtroom today, when the judge denied bail for the getaway driver. the sister yelled at the judge, why no bail? clearly taken aback by the severity of the charges. but out here in monclair, the focus is on the victim. the messages of heartfelt memos from the community. and there's a sign that reads montclair strong. >> it hurts. it

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